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Supermom Syndrome: Not Just for Moms Working Outside the Home

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Supermom Syndrome Isn't Just for Moms Working Outside the Home Christopher Boswell/PhotoSpin

Moms are Superheroes

“Did you know I’m a superhero?” I ask my six-year-old son.

He looks at me as if I have horns on my head. He’s really big into superheroes at the moment and I’m trying to reinforce that ordinary people—such as moms, nurses, doctors, firefighters, police officers and soldiers—are superheroes too. The look on his face tells me he’s not buying it.

“You’re not a superhero.”

“Sure I am.”

“No, you’re not!”

“Yes, I am. I even have a super cape.” I point to the apron hanging next to the stove.

He gives me a quirky smile. “That’s not a super cape.”

“Sure it is. Mommy does amazing things with that cape on.”

He walks away back to his video game, still clearly unconvinced that moms are, indeed, superheroes.

Now, moms do an amazing amount of things in a day. So many things that we may feel like superheroes, or people may look at us like we must have super-human patience or something.

But there’s a difference between being a superhero to your kids, and being Supermom.

Superheroes know their limitations.

They know they can’t solve everybody’s problems all the time, otherwise no one will figure out how to do things on their own and never know the satisfaction of achieving something. They know precisely the situations that require a little extra strength, X-ray vision, or super hearing.

For moms this might involve catching Junior or Junette as one or the other or both launch themselves off the change table. It might mean we act like we have eyes in the back of our heads. It might entail knowing exactly where our kids are, even though we can’t immediately see them.

You know, the kinds of things that make our kids ask, “How does she do that?!”

Supermom Syndrome

Yes, there is a difference between being a superhero and suffering from supermom syndrome. And you can be a super mom without being Supermom.

So many times we equate the two and berate ourselves for not keeping the house spotless and food impeccably prepared and served, then rushing out to taxi children to various activities after an already full day.

By the end of the day there’s nothing left to give to our kids or husbands or household because our energy is all gone doing, really, what we guilt ourselves into thinking we need to do or be.

It used to be that supermom syndrome applied more to work-outside-the-home moms than stay-at-home moms.

I can tell that you being a work-at-home mom, I suffered from delusions of grandeur myself, not only about those things that I expected of myself, but about those things that other people thought I should do because I was “at home”.

Many of us have already discovered or are starting to discover that we can’t do it all — at least not all by ourselves —and we’ve learned to make compromises.

We've come to accept that we will always be trying to conquer Mount Washmore, Mount Foldmore, and Mount Dishmore, that our houses will never be spotless. Heck, we actually like a little untidiness because it means our children are active and healthy and having fun.

We’ve learned to like the lived-in look. We’ve come to accept that we will never be Beaver Cleaver’s mom. We’ve learned to be realistic about what we can do in a certain length of time, and lower the sky-high expectations we have of ourselves so that there’s more of us to give to our children at the end of the day.

And that’s what being a super mom — rather than being Supermom — is all about.


1) Fighting the Supermom Syndrome. Peters, Angie. FamilyLife.com. Web. Accessed: Dec 29, 2014.

2) Battling Super Mom Syndrome. Bossette, Tanja. Awakenedwoman.com. Web. Accessed: Dec 29, 2014.

3) Fighting the Supermom Syndrome. Palos Community Hospital. Web. Accessed: Dec 29, 2014.

Reviewed December 29, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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